Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting: 8th Man Identified

July 18, 2017

The 8th participant in Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer bearing campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton has been identified. He is Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the California-based representative of Aras Agalarov, the “Russian Donald Trump.” Mr. Kavaladze is a vice president at the Agalarov family‘s Crocus Group real estate company. Earlier in his U.S. business career, Mr. Kavaladze was implicated in a $1.4 billion money-laundering operation.

According to his personal website:

“Ike Kaveladze’s responsibilities pertaining to Crocus’ international development projects include securing and structuring project investments, and negotiating with Chinese and other international contractors. One such project is the construction of the largest institution of higher education in Russia, Far Eastern Federal University in the Primorsky Krai (maritime province) capitol city of Vladivostok. Ike Kaveladze has engaged architects, engineers, designers, and decorators from the United States and elsewhere to work on the construction of the 8.4-million-square-meter campus and other Crocus endeavors across Russia.

Ike Kaveladze earned his undergraduate degree in economics and graduate degree in accounting at the Moscow Academy of Finance, prior to receiving his Master of Business Administration at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Active with governments, businesses, and professionals on three continents, he is a member of the US-Russia Business Council and the Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc.”

So the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort (then Trump campaign manager), Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, music publicist Rob Goldstone, and Crocus Group representative Ike Kaveladze.

Video: Okay, Mr. Kavaladze was technically not the “8th man” at the meeting, he was the “8th person” (one attendee was a woman), but we couldn’t find any music for that.

More:

“Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified,” Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Mueller Probing Eighth Man from Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting,” Daily Beast

Update:

“Russian man at Trump Jr meeting had partner with Soviet intelligence ties,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian 

Related:

“Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy

July 13, 2017

Donald Trump Jr.'s Cartoonish Campaign Conspiracy
So this Ivy-League-educated New York millionaire frat boy gets an email from a British music promoter and professional fat guy he met at a Moscow beauty pageant, who tells him a Russian government attorney he knows through a Russian pop singer client has dirt on the political opponent of the millionaire’s daddy that she got from the Russian chief federal prosecutor. “I love it,” responds the millionaire New Yorker, and forwards the email to his brother-in-law and his poppa’s campaign manager, and they all meet with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, in violation of federal campaign law, and they don’t tell anyone until after they win the election. The Big Apple frat boy then incriminates himself via twitter and hires a trombone-playing mob lawyer to defend him.

Natasha Fatale: “What do you think?”
Boris Badenov: “I think he is as dumb as a sack of hammers.”

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Image (“Boris Badanov gets Donald Trump Jr.’s email” after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson), by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Hobby Lobby Breaks a Commandment. Big Time.

July 7, 2017

Hobby Lobby Breaks a Commandment. Big Time.

The Department of Homeland Security caught Evangelical corporate person Hobby Lobby smuggling ancient ceramics from Iraq. The company will pay a $3 million fine and give up the stolen loot, 5,500 clay tablets and cylinder seals, which will presumably be returned to the Iraqi government as part of its cultural patrimony. Archaeological artifacts are often stolen and smuggled by terrorist groups and provide a major avenue of funding for their activities.

Hobby Lobby is owned by the Green family, currently building a great Ark the Bible Museum in godless Washington, DC. We wonder how many ancient items of dubious provenance are in the museum’s collection.

More:

“Hobby Lobby’s Black-Market Buys Did Real Damage,” Candida Moss and Joel Baden, New York Times

“Christian Retailer Hobby Lobby Stole Middle East History to Make a Bible Museum in Washington, Nina Burleigh, Newsweek

“D.C. Bible Museum Denies Connection to Hobby Lobby’s Smuggled Antiquities,” Julie Strupp, DCist

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment

May 25, 2017

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment
In Montana on Wednesday, a reporter attacked Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte with dangerous questions about the deadly House healthcare bill, so the candidate responded by body-slamming the journalist to the ground and punching him. Knowing Montana, that should get the GOP hopeful a victory in today’s special election as well as a Gallatin County misdemeanor conviction.

After all, Montana voters already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress should be a snap.

More:

“Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter,” Fred Barbash, Washington Post

“Three Montana newspapers rescind Gianforte endorsements after alleged body-slamming incident,” Louis Nelson, Politico
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White Collar Crime Risk Zones

May 8, 2017

White Collar Crime Risk Zones

White Collar Crime Risk Zones uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes will happen across the U.S. The system was trained on incidents of financial malfeasance from 1964 to the present day, collected from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-governmental organization that regulates financial firms.

The system uses industry-standard predictive policing methodologies, including Risk Terrain Modeling and geospatial feature predictors, which enables the tool to predict financial crime at the city-block-level with an accuracy of 90.12%.

Predictive policing apps are designed and deployed to target so-called “street” crime, reinforcing and accelerating destructive policing practices that disproportionately target impoverished communities of color.”

— White Collar Crime Risk Zones,” Sam Lavigne, Francis Tseng, and Brian Clifton, The New Inquiry

Use it online and read the white paper.

Related:

“Why big-data analysis of police activity is inherently biased,” William Isaac and Andi Dixon, The Conversation

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Bridgegate Conspirators on Off-Ramp to Prison

April 5, 2017

Bridgegate Conspirators on Off-Ramp to Prison
Two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie convicted in the Bridgegate caper were sentenced by Newark Federal Court Judge Susan Wigenton on Wednesday. Former Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly will spend 18 months behind bars, and former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni will reside in prison for two years. The two Republicans will remain free on bail while they appeal their convictions. Donald Trump’s sister Maryanne is a New Jersey Federal Appeals Court judge, but she won’t be hearing the case.

In September 2013 members of the Christie Administration and Christie-appointed members of the New York Port Authority decided to punish Mayor Mark J. Sokolich of Fort Lee, a Democrat, for not supporting the governor’s re-election bid. They had George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee blocked, causing five days of massive traffic jams. Political fallout from this emerged in time to tank Christie’s presidential campaign and then push him out of the Trump transition team.

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Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

November 21, 2016

Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

On Friday, President-elect and litigious career con man Donald J. Trump, who prides himself on never settling lawsuits, agreed to a $25 million settlement over his fraudulent “Trump University.” You may not have noticed because Mr. Trump spent the weekend distracting the media with his theater criticism.

Donald Trump’s unlicensed “university” was a bait-and-switch scheme, offering free courses that were sales pitches for $1,000 courses, which were in turn sales pitches for $10,000 and $35,000 courses. It’s a wonder the President-elect wasn’t sued by the Church of Scientology for stealing its business model.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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‘Downton Abbey’ Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

November 16, 2016

'Downton Abbey' Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

A federal grand jury has indicted former Congressman Aaron Schock on 24 criminal counts that include theft of government funds, wire fraud, making false statements, and filing false tax returns. Once a Republican star, he used federal and campaign funds to support a lifestyle of personal trainers and personal photographers, a stylish wardrobe, charter plane and helicopter trips for Hawaiian surfing, tango-dancing in Bueno Aires, glacier jumping in Patagonia and a plush Downton Abbey-themed Capitol Hill office with a $5,000 chandelier.

The Washington Post ran a feature on the office, and questions were raised. Mr. Schock resigned from Congress during an ensuing ethics inquiry, but an FBI investigation followed, and the Bureau’s findings were sent to the grand jury which has now returned the indictments. Looks like media coverage of Aaron Schock will be resuming shortly. Hope he’s still got the wardrobe for it.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

November 10, 2016

Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

With the conviction of two former aides in the “Bridgegate” trial last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been cast in an “unflattering light,” to quote the Wall Street Journal. The governor denies prior knowledge of the politically motivated plan that tied up traffic on the George Washington Bridge for four days, but the conviction of his former aides validates the existence of a conspiracy, and another aide took a plea deal. Gov. Christie cancelled weekend campaign appearances with GOP candidate Donald Trump after the verdict.

Governor Christie now heads President-elect Trump’s transition team. Maybe he’ll be named Secretary of Transportation since he knows so much about bridgesbuses, highways, rail transit, and tunnels.

More:

“After the Bridgegate Verdict, Chris Christie Comes Off As the Guiltiest of All,” Andrew Rice, New York Magazine

“Reminder: Trump Believes Own Transition Chairman Was Involved in Bridgegate, Which Is Now Officially a Felony Conspiracy,” Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

Update:

“Pence Replaces Christie as Head of Trump Transition Team,” Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg Politics

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

August 22, 2016

Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

Ryan Lochte, champion Olympic swimmer and America’s Sexiest Douchbag, is in the news, but not for winning his 12th Olympic medal in Rio. He went to a party at Rio’s Casa França with swim team pals Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger and they got drunk. On their way back to the Olympic Village in the wee hours of August 14th, they had their cab driver stop at a gas station in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood so they could take a pee. The restroom door was locked, but boys will be boys and nature abhors a full bladder, so they broke down the door and trashed a soap holder, a mirror, and a “Please Do Not Enter” sign. Two impatient athletes peed against a wall. In other words, just another boys night out for privileged American jocks.

But this didn’t go over so well in upscale Barra da Tijuca. An armed security guard appeared, and the drunken bros paid about $51 toward the damages before their taxi was allowed to pull away.

Ryan Lochte (“So Sexy, So Dumb“) had a short-lived reality TV show called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? In this case what he did was lie, as any spoiled frat boy would. When the teammates got back to the Olympic Village, they claimed they were robbed of $400 at gunpoint by crooks masquerading as police, and Ryan Lochte even told that lie to his mother.

This all fell apart when security video surfaced showing that the four had their wallets when they passed through metal detectors on their return to the athletes village. Surveillance footage from the gas station even showed them breaking down that door.

Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were pulled off a US-bound plane in Rio on August 17th and questioned by police. Teammate Jimmy Feigen was forced to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity before he was allowed to leave the country. And Ryan Lochte, in the true spirit of “I’m-a-celebrity-get-me-outta-here,” left Rio on August 16th, before any of that happened.

So after the 2016 Olympic Games observed their closing ceremonies, the people of Rio remember how America’s spoiled millionaire athletes trashed their city and its reputation and taxed its already overburdened justice system. And total bro Ryan Lochte went back to his 130 pairs of shoeship-hop-tropical-frat-boy wardrobe, and a T-shirt that says “I am Ryan Lochte. Google Me.” Only now when you Google “Ryan Lochte,” you’ll get the word “liar.” That’s one Lochte Olympic record that will never be broken.

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